A wall by any other name would be just as effective, said a Republican senator irked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s semantic games.
On Thursday, the California Democrat said she rejects any effort to fund President Donald Trump’s border wall. Trump’s insistence on $5.7 billion to build the wall was the catalyst for the recent partial shutdown of the federal government after the Democrat-led House refused to support the project.
However, Pelosi also said Thursday she would support “infrastructure,” including fencing, The Hill reported.
That was not a very popular position with Trump, who said telling it like it is should be the way to go.
Lets just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games! A WALL is a WALL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2019
Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy said he does not care what Pelosi calls the border barrier as long as common sense can prevail and Congress can find a way to an agreement that secures the border.
“Speaker Pelosi is an extraordinarily bright person. She knows that the walls we have right now are working, she knows that you can’t secure a 1,900-mile border without using barriers,” Kennedy said Thursday. “I think she probably doesn’t want to use the word ‘wall.’ That’s OK, she can call it a wangdoodle for all I care.”
— Brooke Baldwin (@BrookeBCNN) January 31, 2019
“We’re not talking about a wall from one end to the other,” he said. “Walls are placed strategically along with what the speaker talked about, better technology at ports of entry, more Border Patrol agents, more detention beds, drones, I mean it’s a combination of things, but it does include a wall, and I know that’s hard for the speaker to say. Maybe she should call it a wangdoodle.”
A bipartisan committee is working on developing a compromise to address border security while also ensuring there is no further government shutdown. It faces a Feb. 15 deadline to present its compromise.
Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Graves, who is on the committee, said there will be “discussions about terminology and words we use,” according to Newsweek.
The need for a wall was driven home Friday at a White House media event by Tim Ballard, a former Department of Homeland Security special agent who worked on the southern border. Ballard told the media about the case of a Central American girl who was brought across the border to become a sex slave in New York City, according to a White House media pool report.
“Now, let me say this: Had there been a wall, had there been a barrier, this little girl likely would have been saved, because the traffickers would have been forced to take this child through the port of entry where we have amazing law enforcement,” Ballard said.
He contrasted that with the case of a 5-year-old boy who was saved because those trying to bring him into the country were forced to use a port of entry due to existing walls.
“The difference between those two cases is two plus two equals four. The wall was a difference. The wall rescued this little boy, and the lack of a wall caused this little girl to go through a hell that is indescribable, that is not manufactured. It is a real crisis. It is a real emergency,” Ballard said.
At the event, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway summed up the comments.
“I just think Americans are not hearing the basic facts and figures, not appreciating the tragedy that so many of these young victims endure day in and day out,” she said. “It’s all the things … that we don’t know about — the perilous journey that people are taking, that they’re forced into.”
Conway said the stories of lives darkened by human trafficking illustrate the need for “a physical barrier as the centerpiece of a larger immigration reform package. Something that people cannot drive through, walk around, crawl under or climb over. Something that keeps the likes that you heard today out — keep them on that side of the border or let them come legally. Keep the drugs out. And human trafficking — we want these young girls and boys to have a better life. And it’s not going to happen if people feel like they can just drive them over the border and into Queens, New York.”